A much-anticipated return to touring in Australia by music legend Nick Cave has begun with an emotionally-charged concert containing some unexpected words of praise for his first audience in Hobart.
It was the first performance for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds since the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur who fell from a cliff near their Brighton home 18 months ago.
The enormity of the moment was not lost on the crowd at the Derwent Entertainment Centre — a cavernous venue which fell quiet when Cave spoke three songs in.
The unexpected greeting was met with laughter and cheering.
“It’s the first time we’ve played in a couple of years,” he told the crowd.
“We’ve been in a strange place …. I’m coming out and blinking into the light … and I’ve seen Tasmanians.”
“And I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but you are beautiful.”
Over two-and-half hours, the man dubbed the Prince of Darkness continued his interaction with a set list spanning from early Bad Seeds days to the more recent Skeleton Tree, which references his son’s death.
— Todd Buttsworth (@ToddButtsworth) January 13, 2017
Cave has spoken about how he now enjoys engaging with the audience, telling The Australian “it feels very much a communal thing between what’s going on on stage and the audience”.
That was evident many times with the Hobart audience, including when the entire crowd chimed in during Into My Arms after he fumbled the lyrics and let the punters finish the now anthemic Cave classic.
There were several moments of holding hands out-stretched from the front rows.
A 30-minute encore saw him turn it over to the audience for suggestions with the powerful Stagger Lee the choice before ending the night with the ethereal and soulful Push the Sky Away.
The tour continues across Australia and New Zealand this month before moving to the US and Canada for 20 gigs mid-year.